Women don't need to delay getting pregnant after miscarriage

Aug 05, 2010

Women who conceive within six months of an initial miscarriage have the best chance of having a healthy pregnancy with the lowest complication rates, finds a paper published in the British Medical Journal today.

Lead author, Sohinee Bhattacharya from University of Aberdeen, says that current World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines recommending that who experience a miscarriage should wait at least six months before getting pregnant again may need to be reviewed.

Women who experience a miscarriage are not only at an increased risk of a second miscarriage, says the study, but also of complications in a subsequent . Around one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage before 24 weeks.

But the length of time couples should wait before trying again to get pregnant are not consistent, say the authors, with some doctors saying there is no justification for asking women to wait and other bodies, such as the WHO, recommending a wait of at least six months. This study was based on women delivering in Scotland and while the findings are valid for this population, the original WHO guidelines may still be applicable to women in developing countries.

Delaying getting pregnant is particularly problematic in the western world, they add, because "women over 35 are more likely to experience difficulties in conceiving and women aged 40 years have a 30% chance of miscarriage which rises to 50% in those aged 45 years or more … any delay in attempting conception could further decrease their chance of a healthy baby."

The researchers reviewed the data of over 30,000 women who attended Scottish hospitals between 1981 and 2000. The participants all had a miscarriage in their first pregnancy and subsequently had another pregnancy.

The results show that women who conceived again within six months were less likely to have another miscarriage, termination of pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy compared to women who got pregnant between six and 12 months after their initial miscarriage.

The women who conceived within six months were also less likely to experience a caesarean section, deliver prematurely or have low birth weight babies. This association wasn't explained by social and personal factors or by other problems in pregnancy including smoking.

The authors conclude: "our research shows that it is unnecessary for women to delay conception after a ". They add that when there are reasons to delay, for example if there are signs of infection, women should be advised about what to do to protect their health.

An accompanying editorial supports the view that women who conceive earlier may have better outcomes and fewer complications and calls for further research into this important area.

Explore further: A new approach to cut death toll of young people in road accidents

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Abortion and miscarriage bring psychiatric risk

Dec 18, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Drug and alcohol problems and psychiatric disorders are more likely in women who have had an abortion or miscarriage, a University of Queensland study has found.

Recommended for you

Sensors may keep hospitalized patients from falling

9 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—To keep hospitalized patients safer, University of Arizona researchers are working on new technology that involves a small, wearable sensor that measures a patient's activity, heart rate, ...

Rising role seen for health education specialists

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A health education specialist can help family practices implement quality improvement projects with limited additional financial resources, according to an article published in the March/April ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Autism Genome Project delivers genetic discovery

A new study from investigators with the Autism Genome Project, the world's largest research project on identifying genes associated with risk for autism, has found that the comprehensive use of copy number variant (CNV) genetic ...

Study suggests targeting B cells may help with MS

A new study suggests that targeting B cells, which are a type of white blood cell in the immune system, may be associated with reduced disease activity for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The study is released today ...

Study links California drought to global warming

While researchers have sometimes connected weather extremes to man-made global warming, usually it is not done in real time. Now a study is asserting a link between climate change and both the intensifying California drought ...